Our journey from a spark of inspiration to “oh sh*t, we’re launching”
So, this is all getting pretty real.
There are a million-and-one questions and thoughts flying around my mind at the moment:
“Will it be a success?”
“Will I be a good Founder?”
“Will people like our product?
And so on…
I’m sure every founder goes through the same experience as they prepare to launch.
As you step out into the wilderness and open up your idea to the world it’s hard not to feel vulnerable, no matter how much your believe in your product, and yourself.
It’s scary, nerve wracking, and most of all, exciting — I really can’t wait for what’s ahead.
The long/short road to launch.
Back at the start of 2014, I was working as a freelance community manager. During my day-to-day work, I had one problem that kept playing on my mind.
I was having multiple interactions on Twitter each day, across different accounts, with many different people. I wished there was a simple way to follow up on these conversations.
- If someone told me they were running a marathon next year, I’d love a way to remember to wish them good luck on race day.
- If someone downloaded a product and tweeted about it, I’d love to check back in a week or two and see how they’re getting on.
- If a customer had a question, I wanted to follow up in a few days to make sure that everything is now working fine.
Scratching my own itch
There are hundreds — if not thousands — of tools out there aimed to help people build community online. So, I started looking at my options. Every tool I found either:
- Didn’t do what I needed it to
- Was full of features I had no need for, or
- Cost far more than I was willing to pay ($100s per month)
I knew there must be a better way, and set out to build my own tool.
“When you solve your own problem, you create a tool that you’re passionate about. And passion is key. Passion means you’ll truly use it and care about it. And that’s the best way to get others to feel passionate about it too.” — 37 Signals
So, what exactly is Nudge?
“It’s a CRM for Twitter?”
“Kind of, yeah,” I replied, not overly keen on the idea of branding Nudge as a CRM tool.
Though it shares some common ground with CRM software, I’m not too keen referring to Nudge as a CRM tool (or social CRM): mainly because when I think of CRM software, I think of clunky, feature-heavy apps that I don’t enjoy using. I’m really focused on making sure Nudge isn’t, and doesn’t become, that.
Nudge is a reminder service for Twitter. If there’s a conversation you’d like to follow up on sometime in the future, you simply set a reminder and we’ll give you a nudge when it’s time to follow up on that conversation.
Dive below the surface and a simple reminder can be so much:
- A way to follow up on customer service queries
- A personal networking tool helping your keep in contact
- A sales enablement tool to help you keep regular contact with leads
Be the first to use Nudge — register your interest here, and we’ll let you know when it’s ready.
Getting off the ground
I started with a simple validation page, which I tweeted to my followers. People started signing up. I felt I was onto something, and within 5 days, I’d gone from having an idea to validating that other people had the same pain and were looking for a solution.
I spoke to everyone who signed up and their feedback gave me confidence that the product I wanted to build would be useful.
The next obstacle was to find a way to get a MVP built. I’m not a technical person, so building it myself wasn’t an option and I knew I’d need a little bit of money to get this off the ground.
I started putting aside whatever I could from my freelance earnings and also applied for a small startup loan from Virgin Startups.
As I progressed through the startup loan process, I also began looking for a developer or agency to build my MVP.
I posted on Hacker News asking for some advice. I searched for sites that could match me with a technical co-founder. In the end, it was a simple tweet that helped my find the right agency to build Nudge.
After sharing my validation page on Twitter, I met James, founder of an awesome agency, The Observer Effect. We got speaking and James loved the idea of Nudge and shared my passion to bring the idea to life.
After securing the startup loan and deciding to work with James and The OE on my MVP. It was time to set the wheels in motion.
The people behind the pixels
As we become overwhelmed by notifications, mentions and all other forms of communication (text, email, Facebook, etc), we’re losing sight of the benefit in making real, genuine connections.
Time is precious, and we can’t follow up with everyone — especially if you’re an individual or brand who receives thousands of mentions per day. But if we’re only engaging with people reactively when they reach out to us, or when we have something to gain, then we’re missing huge opportunities to create loyal customers and build genuine relationships.
“Care. Care more than you need to, more often than expected, more completely than the other guy.” — Seth Godin
Behind every avatar, is a real person, just like you and I. That’s sometimes easy to forget.
A simple follow up can surprise; can show that you care and can reap rewards for you and your business.
The interactions we have online and the relationships which are created as a result, can improve people’s lives. We should keep this top of mind and go all out to not only create great products, but to also create outstanding experiences for the people who use them.
From Idea to Paying Customers
Over the coming weeks I’ll be publishing real-time updates of journey on our Twitter account and sharing an open, transparent view of our progress on this blog.
Whether we win or lose, we’ll be sharing the successes and failures with you. Follow our journey as Nudge transitions from an idea to finding our first paying customers and beyond.
Over the next few weeks you’ll learn:
- How to take an idea and turn it into a product
- The marketing techniques used by successful startups to find their first customers
- How to decide on a pricing model for your product
Check the Nudge blog every Tuesday, for the latest instalment.
Want to be the first to try Nudge? Drop me a Tweet.